A hike to a 12,000 foot high Sierra pass, covering the gamut from lush green meadows to pristine blue lakes, from calming babbling... more » creeks to dry, desolate moonscapes. Mono Pass is a moderate hike at high elevation, with some of the prettiest scenery in the Sierra.
Gaining about 2,000 feet in just over 4 miles, the trail is not terribly difficult (unless you consider you are going from 10,000 to 12,000 feet!). Overall, the trail is mostly good quality, with only a few loose rocky sections. The grade is never too steep, except for the final kick to Mono Pass, which probably feels harder because of the altitude.
The trail starts at Mosquito Flat, the highest designated trailhead in the Sierra, accessible by car. It is a very popular hiker and fisherman starting point, and is usually a crowded place.
From the start, the grade is around 7% for first 1.8 miles, before kicking up to over 12% at the start of the switchbacks (near Ruby Lake), for about 1.4 miles. The total distance to Mono Pass from the trailhead is about 3.3 miles. From there, a flat walk across the sand gets you to Summit Lake. The trail continues beyond the lake, but is usually reserved for backpackers continuing on into the wilderness. less «